Personal Blog On Impact Investing, Frugal Innovation, Circular Economy, & Other Things That Catch My Eye.
Author: Venkata Gandikota
Venkata has more than 13 years of technical engineering, research, ideation, strategy and business modeling experience. Based on his experience with the Indian market and realizing also the need for affordable & sustainable solutions for Finland and other European markets, he started The Nordic Frugal Innovation Society in late 2013 with 2 colleagues. By organizing ideation workshops and 2 major conferences involving Cities, Universities, and businesses he started to mainstream the concept in Finland and the Nordics. Gandikota has also written several articles focusing on frugal innovations in the Finnish media. He has also been helping Finnish businesses in India as CEO of Indianeer Consulting and gives guest lectures at JAMK University of Applied Sciences in Jyväskylä. He has a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from India and a Masters in Environmental Engineering from USA.
According to his bio on MacArthur Foundations’s website:
Prakash has channeled his ingenuity to invent several devices that empower frugal science: these are low-cost, widely accessible, and appropriate for use in low-resource and field settings. Foldscope, a lightweight optical microscope that costs less than a dollar to produce, is assembled from an origami-based folding design from a single sheet of paper with integrated lenses and electronics. With submicron resolution, Foldscope has already been widely embraced in educational contexts.
Another recent project is a low-cost, sticker-like microfluidic chip that can collect thousands of nanoliter-volume droplets of saliva from mosquito bites that can be screened for pathogens. The chip would enable rapid, scalable, and low-cost collection of surveillance data that is critical for predicting and controlling mosquito-borne disease outbreaks. With remarkable breadth and imagination, Prakash defies traditional disciplinary boundaries in his coupling of basic research and fabrication of high-capability scientific instruments for widespread use in the field and classroom.
Finland’s northern municipality, Sodankylä, plans to introduce self-service health care stalls for persons living in remote locations. The pop-up medical kiosks will allow users to run lab tests, check blood pressure, as well as heart and lung activity – and to call on a doctor or nurse via a video link.
As noted in various instances on this blog and other social media, there are good frugal innovations that can be used for doing tests with or without help from a healthcare worker.
1) ECG monitor developed by Finnish researchers from VTT – Beat2Phone
2) PeekVision – Professional eye exams from your smartphone . One can view cataracts clearly enough for treatment classification, detect signs of glaucoma, macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy and signs of nerve disease. Other health problems such as severe high blood pressure and diabetes can also be identified with a good view of the retina. They are also currently trialling tests that they have developed for a range of colour blindness (blue, green and red) using the high definition of a smartphone screen.
3) Just go to the website – Frugal Innovations in Medicine that is curated by researchers in epidemiology, working in an academic laboratory (CRESS, INSERM U1153) in Paris, France. They have divided the solutions under the following headlines:
Gen Z have been growing through their teenage and college years through the worst economic crisis the world has seen since The Great Depression. The years they are also very impressionable years and the crisis is having long lasting effects on their personalities, behaviour and spending habits. This means they will be unlike any of the 3 generations that came before but more like the generation that went through the Great Depression but with a modern twist of living in a technologically advanced world.
Their findings describe a generation shaped by technology and austerity imposed because of the ongoing economic crisis.
What the below shows is increasing number of people comprising of the Gen Y and Gen Z demographics are concerned on how to use resources wisely, on working under resource constraints and are socially and technologically more adept and want to use them for doing greater good.
I believe these are also generations that will increasingly create and consume solutions via frugal innovations- solutions that are quality, accessible, affordable and sustainable.
We did a survey after InnoFrugal 2016 concluded in April 16-17, 2016.
Want o give a shoutout again to the volunteers, sponsors, knowledge partners, speakers, panelists, workshops facilitators, exhibitors and last but not least the attendees themselves in making the 2nd edition of InnoFrugal hugely successful!
I did a neat infographic that I shared on our TNFIS Blog and now I also want to share it here.
The spray is divided into two portions, each receiving a different polymer substance. One gives the solution a negative electric charge; the other causes a positive charge. When two of the oppositely-charged droplets meet on a leaf surface, they form a hydrophilic (water attracting) “defect” that sticks to the surface and increases the retention of further droplets.
The project was developed in collaboration with the MIT Tata Center for Technology and Design, which aims to develop technologies that can benefit communities in India as well as throughout the developing world. Spraying of pesticides there is typically done manually with tanks carried on farmers’ backs, and since the cost of pesticides can be a significant part of a farmer’s budget, reducing the amount that’s wasted could improve the overall economics of the small-farming business, while also reducing soil and water pollution. Decreasing the amount of pesticide sprayed can also reduce the exposure of farmers to the spray chemicals.
Based on the laboratory tests, the team estimates that the new system could allow farmers to get the same effects by using only 1/10 as much of the pesticide or other spray. And the polymer additives themselves are natural and biodegradable, so will not contribute to the runoff pollution.
The new approach would require only minor changes to the existing equipment that farmers use, to separate the pesticide into two streams to which small amounts of each polymer could be added. The polymers themselves are extracted from common, low-cost materials that could be produced locally.
In addition to pesticide spraying, the same approach could be useful in other applications, such as the spraying of water onto plants to prevent frost damage in places like Florida, where citrus crops can be severely damaged by frost but water supplies are already constrained.
I would like all C-Suite Executives, be they from Startups, SMEs or Big Corporations, to repeat this “Mantra” every day right after they wake up.
Domestic Growth Is Not Enough For My Business
Exports To Developed Economies Is Not Enough For My Business
Growth For My Business Should Increasingly Come From Sales In Emerging Economies
The last part, especially, will not magically happen. They will need to understand the market and create or co-create solutions that B2B and B2C customers in those emerging markets will buy. There is definitely space for high cost solutions but more often than not the solutions that are needed are those that have these Frugal Innovation attributes: quality, sustainable, accessible and affordable.
Today, almost all major global OEMs have an India development centre with plans to increase sourcing and use India as its manufacturing base. With the government’s support, OEMs and suppliers have put in herculean efforts in shaping the industry’s achievements. There’s no surprise that India is ranked 10th in the auto segment of the Future Brand’s Country Brand Index (CBI) for 2014-15 – the only segment where India is featured among the Top 10 across industry sectors like FMCG, electronics, fashion and luxury.
Having said that, one still needs to wonder, ‘Have we established a rational and emotional value proposition of Brand India?’ It is still associated as an LCC (Low Cost Country) with lower level of manufacturing quality and has a long way to go to improve its aspiration quotient. Will a customer in the UK aspire to own a car because it is ‘Made in India’ or will he rather pay a premium for one designed and made in Germany?
We do need to find the platform on which to build (automotive) Brand India. I believe we have two platforms to build on – frugal engineering and IT expertise. The latter has been an acknowledged strength of India for some time but more in terms of providing software expertise to the world and not in terms of building this expertise into our own (automotive) products. Can we take a pole position in this? In the last several years, frugal engineering is being recognised globally as a strength and not a way to cut corners. The world acknowledges that India invented it and frankly all others are now imitating it, thanks to the exposure they now have to Indian engineering ecosystem. Can we translate these two strengths into a brand image of India – not that of an LCC with low labour cost as the only advantage, but of a country that has the ability to design products differently and use its IT expertise to give customers a product that others cannot?
Brand building has an extremely long gestation period to reap any formidable result. In spite of challenges, the automotive industry has continuously steered the path of creating world-class products, building a manufacturing ecosystem and frugal innovation.
Startup Europe India Network (SEU-IN) connects the European and Indian Startup ecosystems. It is a partner for growth, investments, and strategic sourcing in the European and Indian digital markets. SEU-IN works with Startups, Investors, and Corporates to accelerate growth, investments and innovation. SEU-IN is set out as the key initiative for Startups in the “Agenda for action 2020” between EU and India.
SEU-IN is organising for the first time an event to help jump start it’s mission in a big way Between October 17-20, 2016, it is taking a delegation of EU startup ecosystem actors to India. It contains 2 parts.
Part 1:VISIT STARTUP INDIA (“VSI”) takes a selected group of European Startup ecosystem players to visit India and meet with with their counter-parts and policy makers in Delhi and Bengaluru.
At least until recently, car buyers haven’t worried about the excess capacity they were purchasing, as long as the lifetime value of the vehicle was greater for them than its lifetime cost.
“In the collaborative economy it’s not the idea of sharing that’s new… What’s different now is the introduction of technology into the concept.” — H.O. Maycotte, Umbel
All this excess capacity is what makes the sharing economy possible.
“Consumers simply want to make savvy purchases, and access economy companies allow them to achieve this, by offering more convenience at lower price.” — Giana M. Eckhardt and Fleura Bardhi, researchers